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Being Green

image 456We all want to do our part to help conserve and save the planet. Being “green” has become a routine for many people. However, what does it mean to be a green parent? You can actually do several things to help your new baby stay free of harmful chemicals.

Annually we understand and find out far more things as a human race. It was a great day when researchers confirmed that dark chocolate is in fact healthy for you. In the past few years we have found that there are many everyday items in our house that create toxins within our home.

Adults usually are not troubled by these chemicals, yet they can be really dangerous for infants. Being a green parent today means safeguarding your child from harmful toxins in your house. By just making a good choices you can help to make your new baby's world much healthier and safer for them. Here are several green tips for new parents.

The four walls of the baby's room is a place where you can make a significant difference. A typical paint can create smog when sunlight hits it, so try a low VOC paint.

"Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary, room-temperature conditions. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air. An example is formaldehyde, with a boiling point of –19 °C (–2 °F), slowly exiting paint and getting into the air.
Many VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment."
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volatile_organic_compound

We have found a local company called Harlequin Paints that specialise in low VOC paints:
“Harlequin Paints was started in 1999 by three people passionate about paint and the environment. A chemist, a designer and a paint applicator. An unusual combination but one that has proved highly successful.
Harlequin Paints manufactures only water based products, and is the first company in South Africa to produce a range of solvent free paints. We also manufacture paint technique products, varnishes for furniture and floors, wood stains, custom made colour ranges for individual companies and scenic paint for the film industry.

Our Premium Paint range is independently verified as MINIMAL VOC, which means it contains less than 3.0 gr per litre of VOC (volatile organic compound). This is classified solvent free.
As an ethically green company we strive for good quality product and excellent, informative service. Our paint is tinted at our factory and each batch is checked by ourselves to ensure it is perfect.
Our aim is to inspire and encourage people to be as passionate about paint and the environment as we are. Choose your colour…… it will always be green.” http://www.harlequin.co.za

There are several things you should think about when considering furniture for your baby’s room. Recycling is an excellent thing for the environment, and lots of parents want vintage furnishings for the baby’s room. First make certain you look into the safety of vintage pieces. Take a look at consumer web-sites for any recalls. Additionally, you will need to make certain that you remove all paint from the pieces. This is very important due to lead paint that had been banned in 1977.

Even if the piece is more recent, you cannot be sure if some repainted it and with what sort of paint. You should be cautious of furniture produced from medium density fibreboard since it releases a gas called formaldehyde, which may cause asthma.

Among the best ways you can be a green parent would be to buy an organic baby's crib mattress. Organic items are made from toxin-free materials. A non-organic mattress comes from the manufacturing plant with a lot of chemicals. This is evident by the smell. Should you choose to go with a non-organic crib mattress, just be sure to give it time to get some fresh air .

The great baby diaper discussion has been raging for many years. Disposable baby diapers fill the landfills, but fabric diapers need energy and water to wash. Well let us place the environment aside and take into consideration your baby’s bottom and skin. The cloth diaper is best for baby’s delicate skin. In addition disposable diapers do have off-gassing.

One challenge with cloth diapers is that you have to empty the “mess” in to a commode before you launder them. This is where the hybrid diaper includes the best of all possible worlds. You can find cloth diapers with 100% biodegradable inserts that could be flushed or thrown away.

Although “being green” has become somewhat of a fashion statement the past couple of years, it remains our responsibility as parents to make our house a safe environment for our little ones. Make it a habit to read the label before you buy a product and use your Smartphone in the store to Google any strange ingredients you don’t know.

"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives."
- Native American Proverb

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